Biogeography of Dietes (Iridaceae)

john grehan jgrehan at ADELPHIA.NET
Thu Jan 23 06:52:22 CST 2003

Geoff Read wrote:

>Gosh, that's fantastic news! What a revelation! Thank goodness
>panbiogeography is around to shed light into  these quirky dark corners of the
>distribution of life on our planet.

Sorry, I found this to be a bit of an obscure statement. Do you mean that
you did not understand what information was being provided by a track baseline?

>Not to be unkind, and it's an interesting happenstance, and I love these
>conundrums as much as anyone, but there is only one eastern data point. I
>don't think calling the simple reality a standard track is of any benefit
>to the
>rest of us.

Right! It's of no benefit at all if one does not recognize the concept and
implementation of spatial homology in biogeography.

Ken Kinman wrote:

         I couldn't agree more. I am still not sure if this brand of
         panbiogeography is too much "pan" or too little "pan". It just
         strike me as very predictively heuristic. More like being frozen
by an
         excessive and overwhelming fear of circular reasoning, and thus
ending up
         with a rather minimal amount of scientific value.

People are, of course, free to make their own choices about the matter.
Since Ken is a Darwinian biogeographer (and evolutionist) it would not be
possible for him to accept the scientific value of panbiogeography since
the latter is a rejection of the former.

         Charles Darwin got some things wrong, but considering what was known
         at the time, he was incredibly good at pushing the envelope----and
         overall fitness of his ideas have certainly given them a superior
ability to
         survive much competition and "predation".

If popularity is the test of scientific merit then the above would be
correct. So even though he got biogeography wrong, it has, by definition,
high fitness and superior ability to survive alternatives.

         I suspect the same will happen with the ideas of Ernst Mayr which
have gotten a lot of criticism        in the past decade or so. So it goes.

Mayr got biogeography wrong too. He even missed the plate tectonics boat -
something Croizat did not.

         It all comes out in the scientific "wash" eventually, and future
philosophers and historians of         science are going to have their
hands full analyzing the past couple of decades in the history
of       Biology.

I think they will probably have their hands full with any of the decades.
It will be interesting to see how philosophers and historians of science
deal with panbiogeography getting things right with respect to the
generation and corroboration of novel geological predictions where the
competing Darwinian research program did not (the Galapagos example I
mentioned earlier provides a classic illustration - Croizat was successful
in predicting the tectonic significance of the Galapagos whereas Mayr and
other Darwinian biogeographers failed to make this prediction by virtue of
the Darwinian method).

John Grehan


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